WASHINGTON (AP) — The vote to determine control of the House featured significant milestones. The candidates included 237 women, more than ever before. Among the winners were the youngest woman ever elected to Congress and several who broke racial or other barriers. A look at some of the victorious candidates:
ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (New York Democrat)
At 29, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest woman elected to Congress. Ocasio-Cortez has said she is still paying off her student loans and until recently had no health insurance.
She shocked many in New York politics, including herself, when she came out of nowhere to defeat 10-term Rep. Joe Crowley in New York’s Democratic congressional primary last spring.
The victory made her the national face of young, discontented Democrats — often women and minorities — trying to shove their party to the left.
Ocasio-Cortez was born in the Bronx but raised in suburban Westchester County. Her father died while she was a student at Boston University in 2008. She got her start in politics as an organizer for Sen. Bernie Sanders. She calls herself a “Democratic socialist” and supports a national $15 minimum wage and universal health care coverage.
She takes the record for the youngest woman elected to Congress from Rep. Elise Stefanik, a Republican representing upstate New York who was elected at age 30. American voters have elected many men in their 20s to Congress.
ABBY FINKENAUER (Iowa Democrat)
Abby Finkenauer on Tuesday became the second-youngest woman elected to Congress. Also 29, she is a little more than 10 months older than Ocasio-Cortez. She is also still paying off her student loans.
Finkenauer knocked off two-term Republican incumbent Rep. Rod Blum in a fiercely contested race.
She grew up in the northeastern Iowa district she will now represent and has served four years in the Iowa House representing Dubuque.
Finkenauer has worked for a nonprofit that sought to increase the minimum wage and expand family leave.
She styled herself as a folksy champion of working-class families such as her own. A favorite of labor unions, she has frequently discussed how her father is a welder and her mother is a school district employee.
Republicans, including President Donald Trump, nicknamed her “Absent Abby” for missing some votes in the Legislature and painted her as too inexperienced.
ABIGAIL SPANBERGER (Virginia Democrat)
The Democrat and political newcomer who unseated a two-term Republican congressman in a Virginia GOP stronghold spent nearly a decade as a CIA operations officer working on counterterrorism and nuclear proliferation cases.
Abigail Spanberger, 39, also worked as a federal postal inspector, handling narcotics and money-laundering cases.
About two years after leaving the CIA, Spanberger decided to run for Congress in Virginia’s 7th District, a mix of suburbs west and south of Richmond and large rural areas.
The married mother of three young daughters said she became increasingly disturbed by the sharp political divide in the country, Trump’s travel ban on predominantly Muslim countries and the GOP’s unsuccessful attempt to repeal Obamacare.
The district has been held by Republicans since 1971.
During the campaign, Spanberger cast herself as a moderate and portrayed incumbent Rep. Dave Brat as inaccessible and out of touch with his constituents. She also successfully tapped into anger over Trump among suburban voters.
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